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Scalp Dance, Sioux, 1845–48
Western Sioux/Lakota
26 1/4 x 32 1/2 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Harrison, Jr.

Catlin received a commission from King Louis Philippe, who had spent two years in the late 1790s in the United States, to paint fifteen large canvases. Inspired, perhaps, by the art he saw in French museums, Catlin produced the most carefully detailed and highly finished works of his career. Here, he turned a rudimentary composition sketched at Fort Pierre in 1832 into a full-blown and dramatically illuminated spectacle.

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